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Chinese athletes ready to shine at Asian Para Games

By Shi Futian | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-12 09:17
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Wheelchair basketball players take in an exhibition on Para athletes after the convention to announce the formation of Team China for the Hangzhou Asian Para Games in Beijing on Wednesday. WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

The Chinese delegation for the forthcoming 4th Asian Para Games, which will be staged in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, from Oct 22 to 28, was announced in Beijing on Wednesday.

"I hope all our athletes can fight hard for the best results at the home Games. We will face tough rivals, but we are well-prepared," said Cheng Kai, chef de mission of the Chinese delegation, during the Wednesday meeting to announce the formation of Team China.

"I wish our athletes can progress together and make more breakthroughs in Hangzhou. And the Asian Para Games will be crucial for our preparation for the Paris Paralympics the next summer."

The 723-member Chinese delegation boasts a total of 439 athletes, among which 221 are men and 218 are female. Their average age is 26.5 years old. The oldest Chinese athlete to compete at the Para Games is 58-year-old table tennis player Gao Yanming, while the youngest is 13-year-old Yang Yixiao, who will compete in chess.

Team China will compete in all 397 events across 22 sports in Hangzhou, and the goal is "to win gold and show great spirit".

"Among all Team China athletes, 215 of them will compete at the Asian Para Games for the first time, and 227 of them competed at previous Paralympics. The Asian Para Games are important to us, as many of them functioned as qualification for the Paralympics in Paris the next year," said Zhao Sujing, a deputy chef de mission of the Chinese delegation.

Both youngsters and star veterans of Team China are ready to do the nation proud in Hangzhou, and one example is sprinter Wen Xiaoyan, a gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Para Games who is fixing her eyes on more medals in Hangzhou.

"In the 2018 edition of the Games, I won two gold and two silver medals, and in Hangzhou I wish to at least win three gold. This time I will compete in women's long jump, 4x100m mixed relay, 100m and 200m sprint. I hope I can reach the podium in all disciplines," Wen told the media.

"It's not easy to prepare for the Games, as I have some injuries. But to achieve my goal, I have been focusing on my training. The Hangzhou Games are special as it's a home event. I want to show true fighting spirit at home and stand on the highest podium."

For those who will compete at the Asian Para Games for the first time, they share similar ambitions. One example is the Chinese women's wheelchair basketball team, as half of the team are Asian Para Games debutants.

"After the Tokyo Paralympics, many of the players of that team have retired. So a number of players of the current Team China were born after 2000. There are only six of our players (out of 12) who played in Tokyo," said Chen Qi, coach of the Chinese women's wheelchair basketball team.

"So we have to nurture a younger generation of players. In the 2018 edition of the Para Games, we won the gold medal. So we want to defend our title at home. And now, I'm just excited ahead of the Games."

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